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England Women’s World Cup: Six Lionesses making major tournament debuts

The clock is ticking down to the start of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, and England are amongst the favourites to win the entire tournament. Following their success at Euro 2022, the Lionesses are now seeking dominance on the world stage, and Head Coach Sarina Wiegman has included six women in her roster playing in their first major tournament.

The England squad is still packed full of experience to believe that they can compete with very best nations in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. A total of 16 names within Wiegman’s roster were part of their famous European Championships victory, but there is a sprinkling of new talent coming through the ranks that will also get their opportunity.

England manager Sarina Wiegman during a squad announcement for the upcoming 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Picture date: Wednesday May 31, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

The team is now already based in Australia ahead of first 2023 Women’s World Cup match against Haiti on 5th July, and no stone has been left unturned with regards to their preparation. Whilst injuries to key players means the squad perhaps isn’t entirely what Wiegman would have wanted, this has opened the door for others to step up and make their mark.

All the information you need around England at the 2023 Women’s World Cup can be found by clicking this link. Here, it will contain everything you need to know around kick-off times (remember the time difference!) and how to follow your Lionesses role models live on TV over the coming weeks.

Now, let us focus on the six players who will be taking part in their first major international tournament for England at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

England Women’s World Cup Debutant: Niamh Charles

Niamh Charles – Age: 24 – Chelsea

The former Liverpool defender played a major role in helping her current club enjoy the season that they did. Charles made the joint-highest number of appearances for Chelsea across the season, which resulted in Emma Hayes’ side winning a Women’s Super League and FA Cup double, as well as reaching the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final.

Her versatility makes her a big asset in tournament football. She is capable of playing at full back on either side of the pitch, and there is a possibility she may start the tournament. The left back spot has been a talking point ahead of the tournament, and it remains to be seen if Wiegman will start Alex Greenwood here or in a central defensive capacity, which opens the door for Charles.

Niamh Charles
1st July 2023; Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, England; Womens International Football Friendly , England versus Portugal; Niamh Charles of England is challenged by Telma Encarnacao of Portugal – Photo by Icon sport

England Women’s World Cup Debutant: Laura Coombs

Laura Coombs – Age: 32 – Manchester United

Coombs has had to be patient in her quest to break onto the international stage but she has come back onto the scene this year after not appearing for England since 2015 before Wiegman brought her back into the fold. Since signing for top WSL side Manchester City in 2019, she has installed herself as a key player at club level, and it was only a matter of time before England called her up again.

What may count against her in the squad from a starting XI perspective is that the central trio of Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and the more advanced Ella Toone are certainties in Wiegman’s team, so appearances off the bench may be what Coombs has to rely on. However, she is a hard-worker and solid in possession, so wouldn’t look out of place when needed.

England Women’s World Cup Debutant: Lauren James

Lauren James – Age: 21 – Chelsea

Ask anyone will any kind of knowledge on women’s football and the name Lauren James will often appear in the conversation, certainly if based around who could be a potential star of the 2023 Women’s World Cup. She is the future of women’s football in England and has already become a top performer at club level with Chelsea.

She has claimed four trophies since signing for Chelsea in 2021, and has already made an impression at international level by being part of the Arnold Clark Cup and Women’s Finalissima winning squads. She is most of home in a wide right position with the ball at her feet showcasing her tremendous dribbling ability. This could be her moment to shine.

England Women’s World Cup Debutant: Esme Morgan

Esme Morgan – Age: 22 – Manchester City

Whilst not having captain Leah Williamson available due to injury is a huge blow, it has handed the chance for Esme Morgan to make an impression in this England squad. Although only 22, she already looks a cultured central defender in the making that is well ahead of her years. With Millie Bright’s fitness not certain, Morgan may well start the tournament in the team.

Whilst her club Man City haven’t had the season they’d have liked, getting regular football into Morgan has been one big positive. The club possess big finances, so to have someone like the Sheffield-born Morgan come through the ranks and into the team is just as important and rewarding. There are similarities between her and Williamson, which is no bad thing.

Esme Morgan
England’s Esme Morgan and Portugal’s Diana Silva (right) battle for the ball during a Women’s international friendly match at Stadium MK, Bletchley. Picture date: Saturday July 1, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

England Women’s World Cup Debutant: Katie Robinson

Katie Robinson – Age: 20 – Brighton & Hove Albion

The fact that Robinson has broken into the squad at the age of 20 and despite not playing for one of the top-performing WSL teams just shows how highly Wiegman rates her. She has now had roughly a year as part of the Lionesses setup and again she looks to have a bright future in the game. Expect to see her making an impact off the bench at the World Cup.

England will need an ‘X Factor’ to turn to off the bench if they’re to be successful at this tournament, and Robinson could be exactly who they need. The youngster is best at home in a wide attacking role and driving at opposing full backs and unleashing shots on goal. Although not the most prolific, her trickery and relentless nature of play means she could have a key role to play this summer.

England Women’s World Cup Debutant: Katie Zelem

Katie Zelem – Age: 27 – Manchester United

The Man Utd playmaker has found it tough to break into the England ranks due to the form of the likes of Walsh and Stanway, but finally she is now deservedly a part of the Lionesses fold. She is very happy receiving the ball under pressure and picking out passes that split the lines, whilst she too can get forward and pick out that killer pass in the final third.

Whether there is room for her and Walsh in the same team is another matter, but if and when she takes to the field she certainly won’t look out of place. Despite her lack of caps, at 27 she possesses good experience levels from her time with Man Utd, and also Juventus and Liverpool. Zelem oozes class on the football pitch and could have a say this summer.

Katie Zelem
1st July 2023; Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, England; Womens International Football Friendly , England versus Portugal; Katie Zelem of England – Photo by Icon sport

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